Thursday, December 26, 2013

Phillips v. Moor case brief

Phillips v. Moor case brief summary
71 Me. 78 (1880)

Appeal was taken from a judgment entered in a trial court (Maine) on plaintiff seller's claim in assumpsit for an account annexed. The seller initially delivered hay to defendant, a buyer, for pressing. Although the buyer then offered to buy the hay and the seller accepted the offer, the hay was destroyed in a fire prior to payment. When the buyer later refused to pay for the hay and billed the seller for the pressing, the seller filed suit.

The parties did not agree to the sale of the hay when it was delivered to the buyer. Instead, they agreed that the buyer would press the hay, thereby deferring agreement as to whether the buyer would purchase the hay. The buyer in fact made a written offer to purchase the hay that the seller accepted soon after receiving. After the seller received the buyer's written acceptance and after he had arranged for the hay to be transported by his own agent, the hay burned up in a barn fire. The buyer then refused to pay the purchase price and charged the seller for the pressing. The seller sued the buyer for the price and the buyer filed a counterclaim for the cost of the pressing. As for the contract, the buyer claimed that the seller did not accept the offer in a timely manner.


  • The court disagreed and granted judgment to the seller. 
  • The court found that the seller's acceptance of the buyer's offer was absolute and unconditional; that it was unqualified; and that because the specified goods being sold -- the hay -- was specifically identified, the effect of the contract was to vest the title to the hay in the buyer. 
  • Accordingly, the seller was entitled to judgment for the price.

The court ordered judgment for the seller on his claim against the buyer for the price of hay that the buyer had purchased from the seller and was storing in his own barn.

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